Hudson inspires humbling of Salford

Salford City Reds 16 Castleford Tigers 74
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The Independent Online

Castleford warmed up in grand style for their Challenge Cup semi-final against Wigan on Saturday with Super League's biggest scoreline of the year as Salford's mini-revival came to a shuddering halt.

Ryan Hudson, who has already captained his country at under-21 level, was the star of the show in front of the Great Britain coach, David Waite. His powerful running and clever handling highlighted a 13-try display that will send tremors of self-doubt through a vulnerable Wigan camp.

Castleford destroyed Salford in the first 25 minutes, scoring tries at intervals regular enough to time a boiling egg. Hudson was at the heart of it from the start, helping to put Mark Lennon in and then scoring two himself.

Next it was Michael Smith's turn to rampage through a wafer-thin defence, taking Danny Orr's pass and exposing Salford's inadequacies once more.

Then it was Hudson's excellent pass to Orr that sent Wayne Bartrim, who also landed all his first-half goal attempts, romping through another huge gap. A rare Salford attack saw a flash of slick handling by Bobbie Goulding and Alan Hunte sent Danny Arnold over in the corner, but before half-time Cas were in again.

Even when Hudson had his pass knocked down Richard Gay picked up to send the young Frenchman Olivier Elima away for a try on his debut. The second half opened with another try in which Cas did not have a hand laid upon them, Lennon turning the ball inside for Lee Harland to touch down.

Castleford's momentum was slowed when Dean Sampson was sent to the sin-bin and Goulding darted over from the scrum base soon afterwards. Graham Holroyd's first contribution after coming on was to have his kick charged down, allowing Hudson and Michael Eagar to set up Darren Rogers for a try against his old club, and Hudson then put one on a plate for Wayne Godwin.

Godwin soon got his second try and was only denied a hat-trick in four minutes by a ruling that Gay had passed forward. Goulding added his second score for Salford, but that was merely a consolation, Mitch Healey going in for Cas before the ball went through 10 pairs of hands for the best try of the lot, scored by Barrie-Jon Mather in his comeback match.

Rogers' second ended the torment for Salford, whose coach, Steve McCormack, called their defensive performance "disgraceful''and "diabolical''. He added: "We must learn from this defeat, and I feel sorry for the supporters who paid their money."

For Castleford's Graham Steadman, everything he had worked on this season came to fruition. "But we're not going to get carried away, because we know it's going to be a lot more formidable opposition next week,'' he said.

Salford: Gibson, Pinkney, Nicol, Hunte, Arnold, Blakeley, Goulding, Baynes, Alker, Shaw, Jowitt, Ebrill, Wainwright. Substitutes used: Corvo, Southern, Holroyd, Highton.

Castleford: Gay, Pryce, Rogers, Eagar, Lennon, Orr, Healey, Sampson, Bartrim, Lynch, Warren, Smith, Hudson. Substitutes used: Harland, Godwin, Mather, Elima

Referee: C Morris (Huddersfield).